Mark Twain Correspondence and Ephemera Collection, 1874-2002


Samuel Langhorne Clemens (Mark Twain) was born November 30, 1835 in Florida, Missouri to John and Jane Clemens.  The Clemens family moved to Hannibal, Missouri near the Mississippi River when Samuel was 4 years old.  His father died in 1847 leaving the Clemens family financially unstable for years to come.  After completing the fifth grade, Samuel left school to work as a printer’s apprentice for a local newspaper.  By the age of 18, Samuel Langhorne Clemens had traveled to New York and Philadelphia writing articles for several newspapers.  He worked as a riverboat pilot beginning in 1857 and spent several years traveling the Mississippi River.  Later, Clemens was in the Confederate army for a short time and then moved to Nevada where he began writing under the pen name Mark Twain.  He toured Europe by steamboat and his collection of travel letters was later reworked into his first popular book, The Innocents Abroad, released in 1869.  Samuel Clemens married Olivia (Livy) Langdon in 1870 and the couple had three daughters.  Clemens wrote most of his popular works from his family home in Hartford, Connecticut.  These works included: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Life on the Mississippi, The Prince and the Pauper, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, and the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The Clemens family moved to live in Europe in 1891.  Samuel later lost two daughters and his wife before his death on April 21, 1910.  Mark Twain was one of America’s premier writers and his works have reached worldwide recognition for their humor and historical significance.

The Mark Twain Correspondence and Ephemera Collection contains original correspondence from Samuel Langhorne Clemens.  The letters and postcards consist mostly of thank you letters and correspondence concerning travel accommodations for a trip to Europe.  The collection includes original photographs and postcards of Mark Twain.  The collection also has numerous newspaper clippings and ephemeral booklets relating to Mark Twain.  In addition, a complete memory training game created by Mark Twain is a featured item.  The Mark Twain Correspondence and Ephemera Collection is associated with the SHSU Special Collection’s Mark Twain rare book collection which includes approximately 500 volumes.


View a detailed finding aid of this collection at Sam Houston State University’s Finding Aids Online page and see just what materials are in the collection.


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